If there was any doubt about Ecuador’s Spanish colonial history, all you need do is look at the squares that dominate every city, town, and village across the country. The curving paths around fountains, lush trees and blossoming flowers, colorful buildings with cast iron balconies and large windows, countless domes and archways are reminiscent of the many cities of Spain.
Nestled in the southern spine of the Ecuadorian Andes, Cuenca is a city of spires, squares, and exquisite colonial architecture. It is smaller and more laid back than either Quito or Guayaquil but still a bustling place in its own way. It’s a wonderful place to stay a few days, or even years as is the case of many expats who have decided to stay. With a nice and compact city centre that is easily walkable, Cuenca lends itself to aimless meandering walks.
If you give yourself to the freedom of having no where to be, then Cuenca exposes great little wonders from the cobbled alleyways to the small artisanal shops and colorful street decor. The simple pleasure of an ice cream cone in the park can be fully appreciated for the slower pace of life. It is what travelling is meant to expose.
We admittedly didn’t spend a lot of time in the city itself, preferring to explore the wilds of Cajas National Park and the surrounding artisanal villages, but it was clear how one could find a quiet peace in the city; and stay.